Toughie 1349 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1349

Toughie No 1349 by Warbler

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BD Rating - Difficulty */** - Enjoyment ***

An enjoyable Tuesday-level puzzle from Warbler, not taxing but with a few uncommon words and uses. I like her attention to surface readings.

Do let us know how you got on and what you thought. First-time commenters welcome!

Definitions are underlined. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a Make introduction before stroll (8)
PREAMBLE A prefix (whoops, there it is!) meaning before and a verb or noun meaning stroll.


6a Tax officer reportedly chooses subject matter (6)
TOPICS The abbreviation for Tax Officer and a homophone (reportedly) of chooses.

9a A test of the heart cavities (6)
ATRIAL The A from the clue and a word for a test or experiment.

10a Shy about dressing in old-fashioned way (8)
RETIRING About or concerning, plus an archaic word (in BRB but not in Chambers online) for dressing or clothing.

11a Refusing to accept the truth, I lie and foolishly will conceal name (2,6)
IN DENIAL ... on an Egyptian cruise, as they say. An anagram (foolishly) of I LIE AND goes round (will conceal) name.


12a Spot a copper lurking in motorway lane half-cut (6)
MACULA ... the type of spot or blemish that something im______te lacks. The A from the clue plus the chemical symbol for copper go between (lurking in) Motorway and the first half (half-cut) of lane.

13a Research student stated group that's gone wrong should accept answer (12)
POSTGRADUATE An anagram (that's gone wrong) of STATED GROUP goes round (should accept) answer.

16a To express disapproval about South American church shows excessive desire to please (12)
COMPLAISANCE A verb meaning to protest or express disapproval goes round South American, and is followed by the abbreviation for Church (of England).

19a Special gift of story books (6)
TALENT A story or narrative, and some books of the Bible.

21a Call for those retiring to carry on with Royal Mail (4,4)
LAST POST A verb meaning to carry on or persist, plus the service provided by the Royal Mail among others.

23a Prince quits pantomime when dressed as a marine fossil! (8)
AMMONITE An anagram (when dressed) of PANTOMIME after deleting (quits) Prince.


24a One's cold joining march back from frozen peak (6)
ICECAP The Roman numeral one, the abbreviation for cold, and a reversal (back) of a verb meaning to march or stride. (BRB lists mountain-top as one definition.)

25a Case appointment is around four (6)
DATIVE An appointment or assignation goes round the Roman numeral four.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26a Small American coins reportedly causing uncertainty (8)
SUSPENSE The abbreviation for small, a two-letter abbreviation for American, and a homophone (reportedly) of a unit of coinage.



2d Beret in Algeciras protects light-sensitive tissue (6)
RETINA The solution is hidden in BERETINALGECIRAS.

3d Assistant holds last of talks in private (5)
ASIDE An assistant to a senior politician or soldier goes round the last letter of talks.

4d Cat is able to swim about in watery expanse (6,3)
BALTIC SEA An anagram (to swim about) of CAT IS ABLE.

5d Nobleman seizing power starts to use gun silencer (7)
EARPLUG An aristocratic title goes round the abbreviation in physics for power and is followed by the initial letters of (starts to) use gun.

6d Jazz pianist gives thanks to pot (5)
TATUM A colloquial word for thanks and one for pot (meaning belly).

ARVE Error: need id and provider

7d Soldier's truck carrying church canopy (9)
PARACHUTE An air infantry soldier and an Antipodean colloquial word for a utility vehicle go either side of the abbreviation for church.

8d Prisoner's accommodation with electronic fuse (8)
CONFLATE A prisoner or convict, a type of dwelling, and electronic.

13d Flavour of Ulster sausage (9)
PEPPERONI To flavour food with a spicy powder, the contracted form of of, and the part of the UK sometimes loosely referred to as Ulster. (This strikes me as a bit weak since the solution is a word derived from the 'flavour' in the clue -- or have I missed something?) 


14d Sceptics assign OT rhetoric ultimately for analysis (9)
AGNOSTICS An anagram (for analysis) of ASSIGN OT and the last letter (ultimately) of rhetoric.

15d Missing in action after getting to unknown A&E with blood poisoning (8)
TOXAEMIA The acronym for missing in action goes after TO from the clue, an algebraic unknown, A and E.

17d They crack the case for Rebus (7)
SOLVERS A word for people who crack (problems or puzzles -- including crosswords) is given by a verb meaning to crack (in the same sense as the definition) plus the outer letters (case) of Rebus. The surface is an allusion to Ian Rankin's fictional Inspector Rebus. (To my mind this clue doesn't quite come off since 'crack' is doing double duty by being part of the definition and the wordplay, and also because it has the same meaning in both.)

18d Wilde's awards (6)
OSCARS Wilde's, in first-name form.

20d Part of heath in estate that was once yours (5)
THINE The solution is hidden in (part of) HEATHINESTATE.

22d Former currency adopts European coin (5)
PIECE A former monetary unit (equal to 1/64 of a rupee, if that helps) goes round European.


12a and 5d were my picks today. What were yours?

Over to you - please rate and comment on this puzzle below.

36 comments on “Toughie 1349

  1. I do like a Warbler puzzle but had it not been for having to work out which part of which coin was required, this would barely have scraped into 0.5* Toughie time, so I finished in 0.75* Toughie time. I did enjoy myself though.. Thank you to Warbler and Toro.

  2. Thanks Toro,

    I was also confused by 17a (case for Rebus). Does it work if “they” by itself is the definition, in an all-in-one sort of way?

    Lots of new words for me today, all fairly clued ( or parts of clue): 12a, 23a, 6d (i didn’t know this person), 15d, 22d (didn’t know the currency). Nonetheless a very doable puzzle. Favourite was 5d (silencer).

    I needed the review to understand just where the “o” came from in 13d (sausage).

    Many thanks Warbler and Toro

    1. I think the short is answer is no, it doesn’t work as an all-in-one (or a semi-all-in-one). There is a longer answer!

  3. 2*/3* for a not very tough Toughie but one which was good fun.

    10a involved a new (old?) meaning of dressing for me, confirmed in my BRB; and I was glad I remembered the truck in 7d from some months ago. I was hoping for enlightment about 17d which didn’t make complete sense to me, but I see from Toro’s comment that I am not alone in this respect.

    There were lots of excellent clues to enjoy here with good surface readings, and I agree with Toro that 12a and 5d were the pick of the bunch.

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Toro.

  4. I enjoyed this much more than the cryptic and far fewer holes!

    i thought that another word for a rebus was a puzzle and so nothing at all to do with the two outer letters R and S?

    1. ‘Case’ for ‘outer letters’ is standard crosswordese so I think it’s pretty clear that we are being invited to construct the solution from a synonym of crack plus R(ebu)s, rather than it just being a cryptic definition. Can you get it to make sense as a cryptic definition? I can’t!

  5. I share your misgivings about 17d Toro but it was still readily sovable. Had not encountered the usage in 10a before, so thanks for the enlightenment [and the excellent review].
    And thanks to Warbler for the puzzle [I liked the simple and elegant 19a].

  6. I enjoyed this. I did need to try a couple of letter permutations before resolving 23A, and look up the former currency for 22D, but otherwise quite straightforward. My favorite today is not an answer, but the clever link between 2D and 12A. Thanks to Warbler and Toro.

    1. Great minds think alike. It takes me so long to write my comment that your posting hadn’t yet appeared when I started.

      1. I have a recent visit to my ophthalmologist to thank for “spotting” that. She likes to give me a full explanation of what she’s looking for during an eye exam. Happy to say my eyes are good and my vision is 20/20!

        1. I had a hole in my 12a so had an operation on my 2d which meant that those clues caused me no trouble whatsoever.

  7. I enjoyed this puzzle from Warbler with many good surface readings. However, it wasn’t too taxing. Like Rabbit Dave, I remembered the Australian truck in 7d from a previous crossword. My favourite was 16a which was also my last one in (never seen that spelling before). Thanks to Warbler for the puzzle and Toro for the review.

  8. I knew that CS was going to be a bit disappointed by the lack of difficulty in today’s toughie. I also wondered if I didn’t mix up the two grids I printed this morning, but it did say toughie on the top.
    Maybe a bit more 16a from the setter towards the 17d.
    We could have had a nice link between 2d and 12a.
    No real favourite but I agree that the surface reading is quite good.
    So thanks to Warbler and to Toro for the review.

  9. I enjoyed it, as always, the only toughies I complete everyone else finds a breeze. But like Virgin Rail, I’m getting there slowly.

  10. I normally do not attempt the Toughie but this morning so distressed was I by my lack of success with the back page one that I had a go. Much to my surprise I completed it without any trouble – a rare occurence for me. I enjoyed it very much so many thanks to Warbler and to Toro for the review. 1.5*/4*. Please, can I have some more!

  11. 22d was our last one in as the old coin that had to have the extra letter added, was new to us. Very pleasant gentle fun.
    Thanks Warbler and Toro.

  12. I gave up and looked at the hints with over halved solved. What I did was enjoyable. What I didn’t do would have been enjoyable.

    1. Perhaps you have seafood toxaemia from your trip to Warwick? Where did you go? (I’m from Warwick!)

  13. 2*/3*, l think. I was tempted by 7d as favourite, but will award that accolade to 8d. Thanks to Warbler for the (reasonably) gentle work-out, and to Toro for the review.

  14. Good fun, except for the coin. Nice to be able to comment on a Toughie however easy the rest of you seemed to find it. Thanks to all

  15. Glad I gave this one a go – thank you, Warbler, for a satisfying solve.
    A couple of new words that were ‘gettable’ from the cluing but I had to look up both the jazz pianist and the old currency.
    Best of the bunch for me were 21a & 13d – because they made me smile.
    Lovely review, Toro, many thanks for that and the pic. at 11a!

  16. Only just finished this one, and finished means finished without resorting to hints and tips. This means we can watch the Champions league without worrying about anagrams etc. The unfortunate punishment is that I’ve agreed to watch last night’s final episode of Broadchurch after the footie…..Enjoyable puzzle though even if we had to check Charlotte Rampling’s eye complaint (12a) for alternative spelling.

      1. It was certainly torturous watching Manchester City play this evening but it’s like being condemned to the death penalty looking at Broadchurch now!

  17. A most enjoyable puzzle with the first 3/4 almost a write in.I had to look up Rebus and was unaware of that jazz pianist.22d was a guess.
    Terrific, thanks Warbler and Toro.

  18. That’s odd. For the second time today, a comment on the puzzle has appeared in my in-box but not on the comment thread.

  19. Enjoyable puzzle that I found to be a straightforward solve for the most part. Thanks to Warbler & Toro.

  20. I agree that as Toughies go this wasn’t.
    All went remarkably well until I got to the top right corner where, I have to confess, it all went horribly wrong!
    I’ve never heard of the jazz pianist – I was fooled into thinking that 8d had something to do with a cell and that the answer was going to be something electronic that I’d never heard of and, anyway, I had 10a completely wrong. Oh dear!
    Eventually sorted out all the problems and got there, just about, in the end.
    I enjoyed this one.
    I liked lots of the clues but I think that my favourite was 4d.
    With thanks to Warbler and to Toro.

    1. Hi Kath – I was with you on 8d for ages. Cell—-? I even (foolishly) investigated electronic fuses on Google. That just made my brain hurt! Only a last minute light bulb moment about folk being suitably ‘attired’ gave me a way in to 10a and thus to an answer for 8d.

  21. Agree with all above, nice to see reference to Oscars, not so sure about talent though…. Thanks Warbler and Toro

  22. Thanks to Warbler and to Toro for the review and hints. Managed most of it, but there were too many gaps in knowledge to complete. Needed the hints for 10,12,16a and 6,8,22d. Had never heard of any of them, especially the tiring bit of 10a. Was 4*/3* for me.

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